Just because you're following a gluten free diet doesn't mean you can't enjoy a delicious cupcake! These chocolate gluten free cupcakes are quick and easy to make in a single bowl and are free of common allergens including dairy, eggs, and soy.
As a mom of two sons with food allergies, I have made A LOT of cupcakes in my day. Birthday party? Send a cupcake! School party? Send a cupcake! Family gathering? Make cupcakes!
For this reason, we need a tried and true, delicious, quick and easy gluten free chocolate cupcake recipe, right? Well, my friends, this is it!
If you prefer a vanilla cupcake, try these gluten free dairy free cupcakes (also free of eggs, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts).
Why we love this recipe
The recipe was adapted from one of many versions of Wacky Cake which was thought to have originated during the Great Depression when ingredients like milk, butter, and eggs were hard to come by.
I have made hundreds of these chocolate gluten free cupcakes and they turn out delicious every single time. They're so good, you might be surprised that they're gluten free, dairy free, and egg free!
Ingredients and Equipment
One of the best parts of this recipe is that most of the ingredients are baking staples you would find in any kitchen.
- Gluten free all purpose flour - I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour. Before I found that, I mixed my own gluten free flour blend and that works well in this recipe, too.
- Granulated sugar
- Cocoa powder
- Baking soda
- Vanilla extract or baking vanilla
- Vinegar - you can use distilled, apple cider, rice, or any other kind of vinegar you have on hand.
- Cooking oil - I usually use canola oil but you can use vegetable (soybean), grapeseed, corn, or even olive oil.
- Xanthan gum (optional - only use it if your gluten free flour blend doesn't already include it).
If you are baking for someone who needs to strictly avoid gluten, be aware of potential cross-contact with wheat flour in your kitchen.
For example, if you bake with wheat flour, do you use the same measuring cups for sugar? Then the sugar you have might have been contaminated with gluten. You can read more about cross-contact in this post.
For equipment you'll need just a few things:
- Mixing bowl - You could also use a mixer (I love my Kitchenaid) but I like to use my batter bowl because it's easy to pour the batter right from the bowl.
- Cupcake tin
- Cupcake liners
How to make chocolate gluten free cupcakes
These cupcakes are quick and easy to make and you only need one bowl.
Step 1: Start by measuring out the flour and adding to the mixing bowl. Be sure to spoon the flour into the measuring cup rather than scooping. This prevents the flour from being too dense and having dry cupcakes.
Step 2: Add the sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in your mixing bowl and stir.
Step 3: Add the vanilla extract, vinegar, oil, and water to the mixing bowl. Stir until all of the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Don't worry if the batter seems thin - it's supposed to be that way!
Step 4: Line your cupcake tin with paper or foil liners or spray with safe cooking spray. Then fill the cups ¾ full. You should have exactly enough for 12 cupcakes.
Step 5: Bake at 350° F for 18-20 minutes. To test if they are done, poke a toothpick in the center and, if it comes out clean, they're done!
Step 6: Decorate with your favorite frosting and sprinkles!
Tips and FAQ's
Can I make chocolate gluten free cake using this recipe?
Yes, you can! The cake does not rise a lot so I like to double the recipe and make two layers. Using an 8x8 square pan works best.
I have also used my Dash bundt cake maker which is a really easy and fun way to make mini cakes!
Can I double this recipe?
Yes, you can! I often make a double batch and these cupcakes come out perfectly every time. Just be sure the cupcake tins are filled consistently so you don't run out of batter.
Is icing gluten free?
Icing is generally made with butter or some other kind of fat and sugar so it can be easily made gluten free.
If you're buying canned frosting, be sure to read the label carefully to make sure it's gluten free.
Are there allergy friendly frosting brands?
Yes, there are several brands that are gluten free and free of the top 9 allergens. Here are a few:
Miss Jones Baking - free from the top 9 allergens (except coconut) and gluten free.
Simple Mills - Certified Gluten free, Non-GMO, Grain Free, Corn Free
Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Frosting - This is my go-to store-bought frosting brand. I buy the vanilla, chocolate fudge, and cream cheese flavors. They are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, peanut free, tree nut free but do contain soybean ingredients (soy lecithin).
These cupcakes are best up to 3 days after baking them. After that, they can get kind of dry and crumbly. If you don't plan to eat them within a day or two after baking, I recommend freezing them in an airtight container.
My mom and I made over 100 cupcakes for my son's graduation party and froze them for the big day. They were still delicious after thawing and decorating!
You can freeze them even with frosting but I like to wait to frost until I'm ready to serve. They just look better being freshly decorated in my opinion.
Chocolate Gluten Free Cupcakes
- 1 ½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum If not already in the gluten free flour blend
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon vinegar any variety
- 5 tablespoons cooking oil any variety
- 1 ¼ cup cold water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the flour, xanthan gum (if not already in the flour blend), sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Add the vanilla extract, vinegar, canola oil and water. Mix well.
- Pour batter into paper liners or muffin tin coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before topping with your favorite frosting. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-3 days or freeze to preserve freshness.